A Star Is Born... Just Not On Star Search
We as a public are not particularly fond of the concept of Beyonce losing out on deserved accolades. Granted, not everyone goes to Kanye West-level lengths to express that outrage, but goshdarnit we want nice things for this super-talented Houstonian. That said, Beyonce's origin story includes a devastating yet crucial loss on the cheesy TV talent competition Star Search. As part of a pre-Destiny's Child group known as Girls Tyme, a very young Bey lost out to the doofusy rock stylings of Skeleton Crew on the program. The loss absolutely crushed 9-year-old Beyonce, as she never anticipated exiting without the victory. "In my mind we would perform on Star Search, we would win, we would get a record deal, and that was my dream at the time," explained Beyonce in 2013. "There's no way in the world I would have ever imagined losing as a possibility. I was only 9 years old. At that time you don't realize that you could work super hard and give everything you have and lose. It was the best message for me." Beyonce touched on the subject of getting stronger even through losses on her 2013 self-titled album. "I feel like something about the aggression of 'Bow Down' and the attitude of 'Flawless'-the reality is, sometimes you lose. And you're never too good to lose, you're never too big to lose, you're never too smart to lose, it happens. And it happens when it needs to happen. And you have to embrace those things."
Falling "Crazy In Love" With Beyoncé
Seeing as Beyonce has an aircraft carrier full of memorable tunes to her name, we won't be able to address them all, but we would be remiss if we didn't place a spotlight on the gargantuan summer smash "Crazy In Love". The release of this super-sized hit marked Beyonce's full-on official shift from being the captain of the undeniably awesome Destiny's Child to establishing herself an unstoppable solo sensation. The horns in that brilliantly selected Chi-Lites sample pretty much proclaimed that something incredible was now arriving and that it was time to take notice. It also didn't hurt that future hubby and previous "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" duet partner Jay Z popped by to provide a guest spot on this universally adored track.
Destiny Fulfilled (And Then Some)
Beyonce didn't have to return to Destiny's Child in 2004. With colossal hits, movie roles and full-on superstar status attatched to her name, Queen Bey already had a new queendom to rule. Still, she returned with pals/partners Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams after a brief hiatus and it was glorious. In a decade jampacked with misguided reunions that were either cash grabs or straight-up awful propositions, the return of Destiny's Child felt miraculously fresh and exciting. The trio knocked out an album (Destiny Fulfilled) complete with first rate tunes like "Lose My Breath" and "Soldier" and also embarked on an enormous world tour that was a hit at the ticket window and had no (no, no pt. 2) problem sending fans home happy. We'd see the trio pair up a few more times after this brief run, but this was the big flashy extended return.
Beyoncé The Noble
Kanye snatching the mic in the name of Moonman justice at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards has been something that's been spoken about and meme'd to death, but one incredibly underrated moment from that night was Beyonce graciously stepping aside when she won Video of the Year to allow Taylor Swift to finish her interrupted speech from earlier in the evening. It was a remarkably kindhearted gesture from Beyonce (SHE REALLY DID HAVE ONE OF THE BEST VIDEOS OF ALL TIME THOUGH!) and it was a moment that showed why so many hold up the star as an excellent role model for young women. Genuine class.
Beyoncé Conquers The Pyramid
Beyonce has a well-earned reputation for being a total force of nature as a live act. It's no wonder crowds go completely wild whenever they see their hero hit the stage. Bey's career has featured no shortage of extremely memorable live moments, including the singing sensation earning raves for her performance at England's legendary Glastonbury Festival. Arriving as the first solo female act to headline the Pyramid Stage since Sinead O'Connor in 1990, Beyonce had critics and fans practically speaking in tongues as a result of her performance. "You are witnessing a dream! I always wanted to be a rock star!" declared the entertainer as she conquered the stage. BBC viewers also witnessed the dream and they did so in record numbers. Over two and a half million viewers caught Queen Bey's performance according to the data roundup.
America's New Favourite Mom
Beyonce stole the show at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards with a mere rub of her belly. There are all sorts of thrilling ways to announce to the world that you're pregnant, but Queen Bey elected to do it at the end of her performance of "Love On Top" at that year's ceremony and it was a reveal that had L.A.'s Nokia Theatre (and the planet) going absolutely bonkers. The reveal drove Twitter into a frenzy with users knocking out a mind-boggling 8,868 tweets per second. That's a not-too-shabby way to let the world know you were joining the rarefied air of June Cleaver, Clair Huxtable and Marge Simpson as one of America's most beloved moms. Also priceless: Jay Z and Kanye's reaction to Beyonce's post-song reveal. (We're reasonably sure Hov knew about his wife being pregnant ahead of the performance.)
The Voice Of America (Kinda)
Seeing as she's an American treasure, Beyonce was a natural fit to sing the United States national anthem at President Barack Obama's second inauguration. The multi-platinum-selling recording artist came under fire after the ceremony when it was discovered that she performed the song using a pre-recorded track. Beyonce's reasoning for going that route spoke directly to her reputation as an absolute perfectionist. "I practise until my feet bleed and I did not have time to rehearse with the orchestra," said the star at a press conference. "Due to no proper sound check, I did not feel comfortable taking a risk. It was about the president and the inauguration, and I wanted to make him and my country proud, so I decided to sing along with my pre-recorded track, which is very common in the music industry. And I'm very proud of my performance." The controversy surrounding Bey's Washington D.C. appearance would set the stage for an awesome performative rebuttal to critics at that year's Super Bowl.
Beyoncé Saves The Super Bowl
After the FCC lost its marbles over Nipplegate in 2004, the Super Bowl halftime show morphed into a procession of legacy acts (McCartney, Stones, Springsteen, etc.) and a year where the aggressively non-threatening Black Eyed Peas tackled the midgame showcase. Those selections mostly panned out, but Beyonce being given the halftime reigns in 2013 was a whole other attraction altogetherl. It was a music marvel absolutely slaying the stage in the prime of her career and absolutely obliterating the exceedingly high expectations set for her the moment she was chosen. In addition to being a damn fine performance, there was also an element of redemption involved. Beyonce admitted to singing along to a pre-recorded track at the U.S. President Barack Obama's second inauguration, but answered that criticism with a Super Bowl performance that was an incredibly and unmistakably live.
The Ultimate Christmas Present
Beyonce simply releasing an album is a global event unto itself, but an out-of-nowhere surprise release of a masterpiece LP jampacked with quality videos? That was a whole other ballgame. The surprise release model and visual album format had been done before by a number of musical acts, but not by anyone at the megastar level of a Beyonce. When Queen Bey's self-titled album made its stunning debut in December 2013, it was like the planet stood still. Minds were blown, senses were dazzled and critics were furious that they had already turned in their best-of lists before they could lavish this record with praise. The album ranks as the most challenging and ambitious full-length to come from Beyonce and fans were more than happy to have their hero to take them on that adventure. Now everybody is in a state of catlike readiness for what might come next.
The 2014 MTV Video Music Awards served as a celebration for all things Beyonce. Sure, there was the actual ceremony where trophies were handed out and performances were hammered through at breakneck speed, but everyone was waiting for the star of the show to arrive. Bey was honoured at the end of the show with the career-spanning Video Vanguard award. Before she received the prestigious prize from her hubby Jay Z and their impossibly adorable daughter Blue Ivy, Beyonce put on a legendary performance where she worked her way through the cuts from her most recent album, a move that bypassed the usual "here's the greatest hits" combo these things normally come equipped with. It was a performance that demonstrated why Queen Bey is unlike anyone else in music today and why so many devoted followers worship at her throne.